Director of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD), Catherine Ross, presented the ninth annual Martin Wachs Lecture, March 17, 2016.From left, Helen and Marty Wachs, Rbert Cervero, Catherine Ross
The lecture, funded by the Martin Wachs Distinguished Lecture in Transportation Fund, focused on a transportation agenda for the global era.
Ross, an internationally recognized expert on transportation and urban planning solutions, with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, spoke about the challenges in maintaining and growing economic well-being in an era of new transportation modes.
Ross discussed with increased capacity and greater mobility undergirding economic viability and quality of life comes congestion, increased energy consumption, air pollution, environmental damage, urban sprawl, compromised safety, damage to natural habitats, climate change and health impacts. This current dilemma and hypermobility demands a transport agenda for this global era to be set.
The talk also addressed several tools and frameworks that can help meet challenges, including megaregions, which are the urban and connected areas that produce innovation and power the economy, autonomous and connected vehicles, sustainable energy sources, greater connectivity, disruptive innovation on steroids, new technology, financing critical infrastructure and sustaining our quality of life.
“The current pace of change in urban mobility is accelerating more rapidly than at any time, perhaps, since the introduction of the automobile,” says Professor emeritus Martin Wachs. And Professor Ross is grappling with this and with increasing uncertainty about the future of travel in a world in which mobility remains central to economic and social development”
Drawing innovative thinkers to the University of California to address today's most pressing issues in transportation, the Martin Wachs Lecture was created by students to honor Wachs upon his retirement from the University. Wachs is a former ITS and UCTC director. The lecture rotates between Berkeley and UCLA, the campuses at which he taught. Wach's commitment and integrity as a scholar, professional, and educator have profoundly affected his students, peers, colleagues and friends.
Ross is also Deputy Director of the National Center for Transportation System Productivity and Management (NCTSPM) and the Harry West Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has a distinguished record of research and public service, served as the first Executive Director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), an innovative regional state agency created by the Georgia Legislature, is a past National President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, sits as a board member of the Auto Club Group of the American Automobile Association and she advised the Obama Administration on creation of the first-ever White House Office of Urban Affairs. Her last two books are Megaregions Planning for Global Competitiveness, Island Press 2009, and Health Impact Assessment in the United States, Springer 2014.